2017/05/16 What's On
A trip to the Shin Hankyu Rooftop Beer Garden Osaka
By Ben Lindstrom-Ives
On the night of April the 6th, I payed a visit to the Shin Hankyu Rooftop Beer Garden in the neighborhood of Umeda in Osaka. Situated on the top floor of the Hankyu Umeda station on floor number 17, this restaurant reeks a very special sort of air. Only a limited number of people can go up to the 17th floor at any given time, and one must be accompanied by an elevator man to go up and down from this extremely high place. The entrance to the beer garden is by no means average. That being said of course, it is quite nice sometimes to feel that one might have an exclusive and unique sort of dining experience when visiting a cafe, bar, or restaurant.
Having had a chance to go up to this rooftop beer garden at Hankyu was exciting for me for a couple of reasons. I had tried a couple of days before to go to another beer garden in Osaka, but it apparently would not open open until the summer season began. This month, however, the famous German beer drinking festival Oktoberfest soon begin this Friday on May the 13th at Tennoji Park in Osaka, and it will be celebrated up until the end of the month on the 29th. My other reason for excitement was that I had never had a chance to dine at a proper beer garden before. Needless to say, I was filled with both great anticipation and excitement about having my first authentic beer garden experience.
As I made my way up to the 17th floor of the Hanyku Umeda building, the doors would open, and I would be greeted by the staff of the ‘Beer Camp’ to come in and enter the restaurant. The atmosphere was delightful, and the beer garden was packed with many dozens of people scattered around the numerous tables surrounding the restaurant. I made ‘no’ reservation to come into the restaurant, but fortunately there was enough space for me to come in and enjoy. The garden itself was quite a large space. On one side of the restaurant, tents covered the areas where food was being served by the waiters and waitresses. The regular tables for customers were situated in large open areas, graced by views of the magnificent Osaka skyline. As I entered the restaurant I would pay 2000 yen to enjoy the all you can eat and drink special. The price certainly was very reasonable, considering that one could have unlimited numbers of food and drinks!
The architectural style of the beer garden was influenced strongly by the Bavarian beer halls which one finds many of in major metropolitan areas such Munich. The choices for food and drinks at the restaurant I found were also quite extensive. The beer hall held a wide range of beverage choices; everything from Amstel, to Kirin, Becks, Heineken, amongst many other kinds of international and craft beers. All one had to do to get a beer was to quickly grab a mug, press a button at one of the large beer vending machines, and a large serving of beer would automatically be served to the customer. I would enjoy two tasty pitchers of Kirin Beer, along with a serving of fine Carlsberg beer from Denmark.
There was a large potpourri of mainly pub and bar food to choose from. Some of the highlights of the menu included tasty mini hamburger sandwiches, crispy and hot french fries, fried chicken, German style potato salads, Bratwurst, salmon, fresh green salad, along with delicious Vienna style Sauerkraut. The quality of the food from my opinion, was very high indeed for relatively simple cuisine. All of the food at the restaurant was served in a cafeteria style manner. Lines and lines of people would surround the beer tents waiting to serve themselves some food, or to wait for some of the cooks to give them some of the cooked specialties, onto their trays.
As hungry as I had felt at that time, it was really fun to have an ‘all you can eat’ option for a change. Now and again, there is something wonderful about having an opportunity to try and sample as many different foods as you wish to your heart’s content. I ultimately ended up consuming around four trays of food. Some of the dishes which I sampled and enjoyed best were the Bratwurst served with sauerkraut, the fresh green salads, mini pizzas, baked french fries, along with delicious smoked salmon and dill. The culinary experience was quite nice, and it reminded me how good fine German and Austrian style cuisine can be.
Yes the food and beer of course were delicious, but the night views from the top of the Shin Hankyu Rooftop Beer Garden were astonishing! From the top of the building, one could enjoy a really wonderful view of Osaka beautifully lit up at night. The weather during the evening was delightfully breezy and cool, and needless to say, stood in sharp contrast to that of the hot and muggy whether which characterized much of the earlier afternoon weather. One could also see from the observation area the gigantic red ferris wheel, one of the most well known icons of modern day Osaka.
If I had to rank the quality of the food at the beer garden I would easily give it a four out of five stars. It was not great food, but it was nonetheless tasty, well prepared, and very reasonable for the price one paid for an all you can eat special. The night views were unforgettable, and I am confident that the Hankyu beer garden most likely offers one of the best panoramic views of Osaka, along with the Abeno Harukas Tower. I highly recommend this restaurant both for the amazing rooftop views of Osaka at night, along with its tasty German and Austrian inspired food and drinks. This was a fun and enjoyable experience to have indeed, and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fun and relaxing dining experience, where one can really enjoy the cityscape of Osaka at night. That was one truly cool experience to have.
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